Springboard envisions an education system in which families and educators work together—rather than in isolation—to accelerate student learning. Part of this work involves working with communities as a whole rather than individual parties. We take the idea of a team mindset to heart. Through our Family Educator Learning Accelerator (FELA) method, we help families and teachers build relationships by creating opportunities and spaces for everyone to come together to support student learning.
And we do mean everyone.
Moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, guardians–our family workshops are intended for any caring adult in a child’s life because it goes back to the idea of a community. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. We know it also takes a village to educate them as well. At our core, Springboard is really about helping communities thrive by cultivating existing family-educator relationships into true partnerships.
Before each program, teachers meet individually with families and students to form the foundation for a strong family-educator partnership. Teachers conduct team-building huddles (in-person or virtually) at a family’s house or in a public space to have a personal interaction with each student and their family outside of the classroom. Throughout the program at our family workshops, teachers lead workshops that trains families to be effective at-home literacy coaches. In these workshops, families learn reading tips and practice applying them with their child. Each reading tip teaches adults how to read with their child purposefully and ask questions to help their child develop essential reading skills. These tips are aligned to the reading strategies that are used in the classroom to help build a bridge from school to home.
Family workshops are a crucial component of Springboard’s programming and act as a catalyst for increasing the quality and quantity of time students spend reading at home. An effective workshop helps turn the living room into a personalized reading classroom.
Springboard values the community expertise and knowledge already within a school and hires educators from within the school community. This makes programming run smoother in many ways: teachers already have relationships with the Program Leader, who is also hired from within the school, and students and families are familiar with the school processes and personnel. Teachers and Program Leaders have regular touchpoints throughout the program, including weekly Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, and coaching sessions.
Similar to the ways in which Springboard communicates with families, we also communicate with our school and district staff on student progress, information, and resources at every step of our program. Each school partner is assigned a Springboard Program Director who serves as their dedicated coach and Springboard point of contact for the duration of the engagement. Program Directors are former educators with deep experience and expertise in literacy intervention and family engagement. Their primary role is to support partners in building capacity to embed FELAs into the fabric of their school communities. These staff members will be responsive to outreach within 24 business hours and will check in with school teams at least once per week.
We are mindful not to play the role of an outsider swooping into a school to implement a top-down, outside-in intervention. Instead, our focus is on building capacity within schools by helping them to better leverage the people and assets who are already a part of the fabric of their school communities. This means regularly soliciting feedback from and responding to partners by adopting interventions that best fit their needs, not ours. Ultimately, we take a consultative approach to our partnerships–and always approach them through a community-focused lens.